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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024

McMorris, Young lead Badgers to first road win; host Idaho State Tuesday

Wisconsin, led by Cayla McMorris and Avyanna Young, dominated from the start as they rolled to Sunday over Illinois State.

The Badgers (3-6) defeated the Redbirds (3-4) by a score of 64-46 in Normal, Ill., thanks to junior guard McMorris and redshirt senior Young, both of whom have been crucial in head coach Jonathan Tsipis’ rotation this year.

McMorris finished the contest with 21 points, while Young contributed 15. Freshman guard Suzanne Gilreath also got her name in the double-digit scoring column, adding 10 points.

The Badgers came out of the gate exactly how Coach Tsipis wanted. When the buzzer sounded, Wisconsin had a 27-9 advantage headed into the second quarter.

“I was really proud about the way we came out,” Tsipis told UWbadgers.com. “We were aggressive; we were balanced against the zone.”

The second quarter brought a challenge to the Wisconsin defense as the Redbirds put together a little run of their own, outscoring the Badgers 17-6 in the second quarter. McMorris was able to bring a three-minute scoring drought to an end with a jumper at the 5:30 mark to bring the Badgers’ lead back up to double digits.

After McMorris’ shot Wisconsin found itself in another scoring drought until Gilreath hit a momentum shifting jump shot with two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

To start the second half, Wisconsin found itself in another sticky situation, which was stopped thanks to Gilreath yet again. The freshman guard hit a three with 3:10 left to give the Badgers a five-point lead. A pair of free throws from Katrina Beck of ISU brought the game within one point.

Gilreath was waiting for the call once more. A defensive rebound turned into a fastbreak layup with 55 seconds left in the third quarter. After freshman point guard Kendra VanLeeuwen, who ended the night with seven points, knocked down a buzzer-beater three-pointer, Wisconsin went into the final quarter with a six-point lead.

“I think the thing more than anything that I appreciate about [Gilreath] more than anyone on our team is that she has really embraced her role,” Tsipis said. “She comes in and she’s going to shoot it.”

In the final quarter it was a combination of McMorris and Young as well as Wisconsin’s defense. The Badgers did not allow a basket until 2:22 remaining in the contest. Sunday’s win was the largest margin of victory this season for Wisconsin.

The Badgers outshot the Redbirds 34.8 percent to 25.9 percent, and also had the advantage on the glass. Wisconsin ended with 48 rebounds, ISU with 46. The young Wisconsin team was also able to cut down their turnover numbers, ending with 12, while forcing Illinois State to turn the ball over 18 times.

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The Badgers will return home for a three-game stand starting with Idaho State on Tuesday. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

The Bengals will come into Madison with a 2-5 record, coming off of back-to-back losses to Utah State and Colorado, both on the road.

The Bengals are led by freshman guard Estefania Ors, who is averaging 12.1 points per game. Redshirt sophomore Kenyon Grace is averaging 10.1 points per game, and fans can expect most of Wisconsin’s defensive attention to be dedicated to these two guards.

On the defensive side for Idaho State, the Bengals will focus on Young and McMorris, who are proving to be difficult for opposing defenses with their inside-out game.

Young enters Tuesday’s game averaging 13 points per game, while McMorris leads the team with 17.1 points per game.

A win Tuesday may be just what Wisconsin needs to keep building confidence, chemistry and give them a spark for their future contests.

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